Tuesday, January 29, 2019

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of The Father Via Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater WIT January 31 – March 3, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

The Father
Chicago Premiere! 
by Florian Zeller
directed by Kay Martinovich
January 31 – March 3, 2019

Florian Zeller’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning hit, is both a puzzle box mystery and a deeply poignant look at family, aging, and the limits of love.

2016 Tony Nominee for Best Play

Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes with no intermission
There is no late seating available for this production.

I'll be out for the press opening February 5th, so check back soon for my full review.  

A multi-award-winning hit in Paris, London, and New York, Florian Zeller’s The Father is both a tragi-comic mystery and a deeply poignant, unsentimental look at the cruelties of love, the limits of patience, and the unsettling process of mental decay. January 31 - March 3, 2019.

PHOTO CREDIT: The cast of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s production of THE FATHER (Top row, L to R) David Darlow, Alys Dickerson, Linda Gillum, (2nd row, L to R) Anish Jethmalani, Laura Resinger, Bobby Wilhelmson.

David Darlow – André
Alys Dickerson – Laura
Linda Gillum – Anne
Anish Jethmalani – Pierre
Laura Resinger – Woman
Bobby Wilhelmson – Man

Director – Kay Martinovich
Assistant Director – Eileen Vorbach
Stage Manager – Tina M. Jach
Assistant Stage Manager – Kaitlyn Broyles
Dramaturg – Robert Schneider
Production Manager – Ellen Willett
Technical Director – Joe Schermoly
Scenic Designer – Yu Shibagaki
Costume Designer – Jeremy Floyd
Assistant Costume Designer – Elizabeth Galba
Lighting Designer – Brandon Wardell
Original Music and Sound Design – Christopher Kriz
Properties Designer – Jamie Karas

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company is pleased to announce casting for the second show of its 2018 – 2019 season, THE FATHER, playing January 31 – March 3, 2019 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago. Florian Zeller’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning hit makes its way to Chicago for the first time and will be directed by Kay Martinovich. 

THE FATHER, both a puzzle box mystery and a look at family, aging, and the limits of love, will feature Remy Bumppo Core Ensemble Members David Darlow and Linda Gillum along with Alys Dickerson, Anish Jethmalani, Laura Resinger, and Bobby Wilhelmson. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s production of THE FATHER will be performed January 31 – March 3, 2019 at Theater Wit. 

Stage Manager: Tina M. Jach Assistant Director: Eileen Vorbach Dramaturg: Robert Schneider Scenic Designer: Yu Shibagaki Costume Designer: Jeremy Floyd Lighting Designer: Brandon Wardell Original Music and Sound Design: Christopher Kriz Properties Designer: Jamie Karas 

Cast (in alphabetical order): David Darlow (André), Alys Dickerson (Laura), Linda Gillum (Anne), Anish Jethmalani (Pierre), Laura Resinger (Woman), and Bobby Wilhelmson (Man). 

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60657 Dates: 

Previews: Thursday, January 31 at 7:30pm, Friday, February 1 at 7:30pm, Saturday, February 2 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, February 3 at 2:30pm 
Press Opening: Tuesday, February 5 at 7:00pm 
Regular Run: Thursday, February 7 – Sunday, March 3, 2019 Curtain Times: Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm Matinee Performances (other than Sundays): Saturday, February 23 at 2:30pm and Thursday, February 28 at 2:30pm 

Audio Description/Touch Tour Performance: Saturday, February 23 (Touch Tour starts at 1:00pm, and the performance starts at 2:30pm) Open Captioned Performances: Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30pm and Thursday, February 28 at 2:30pm Tickets: Previews: $37.75 Regular Run: $37.75 - $62.75 Industry Tickets: $20.00, available Wednesdays – Fridays Student Tickets: $15.00, available day of only Group Discounts: Available for parties of 10 or more, call 773.975.8150

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company is an ensemble based theatre company that believes in the power and beauty of language, the emotional effects of timeless ideas, and conversation as an agent of change. As our motto think theatre suggests, the plays we produce will make you think - actively - about the complex issues we face as people, as a community, and as humankind. Since its inception in 1996, the Company has produced a blend of modern classics, new adaptations, and complex contemporary works, all presented in an intimate setting with clarity, wit and passion. We invite audiences to engage directly with the art through conversation with the artists.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Monday, January 28, 2019

REVIEW: La Boheme at Lyric Opera Now Playing Through January 31st, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Through January 31st, 2019

Guest Review
by catherine hellmann

“It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”-- Rodolfo in “La Boheme.” Actually, those words were written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. But our hero, Rodolfo could have easily stated them as well.  

You know how when you read a particular novel and it speaks to you in the manner of your current frame of mind? If you need hope, perhaps the book provides inspiration; if you are feeling nostalgic from a setback, the same book at a different time can seem poignant. I love how opera can stir up similar reactions in life’s journey. So is my attachment to the beautiful “La Boheme” by Puccini.

The last time I saw a production of Lyric’s “La Boheme,” I was struck by the overall sadness of the piece, the poverty, the struggles of the artists, Mimi’s chronic cough and eventual death. Downer, dude. Gorgeous music, of course, but oh so melancholy. (Did I mention I just had a miscarriage? Yeah, I was in a tough place…) Fast forward twenty years, and the healthy baby boy I eventually went on to have is now a Sophomore in college, and life is good. Hmmm...I did not realize how utterly charming and humorous  Act I of “La Boheme” could be! Opera as litmus test! No wonder this is the opera that Nicholas Cage takes Cher to in Moonstruck. The story and score are swoon-worthy.

Lyric Opera has assembled a marvelous international cast for its current “La Boheme.” Italian Maria Agresta as Mimi and American Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo are adorable flirting together and wowed us with their vocal theatrics this past fall at Millennium Park. Musetta is performed with relish for the role by Australian soprano Danielle De Niese; her Musetta is feisty, sexy, funny, and ultimately very empathetic with a compassionate heart. Her seduction aria to make Marcello jealous places her on a table in a restaurant while she removes her panties to place on his head, something we don’t see often in opera! Zachary Nelson as her on-and-off-again lover Marcello is her match.    


The sets and costumes are wonderful, especially the market scene with the crowds, including the Chicago Children’s Choir, out bustling, shopping for toys, perfumes, and corsets. I love the snow constantly falling as a reminder of how pretty snow can be when it is not dirty slush on the streets of Chicago!

And oh, that lovely music! Venezuelan conductor Domingo Hindoyan states that the first time he heard the entire score, “I was in love with every bar.” It is easy to see why. As my guy, who was seeing his first opera, observed,”It is a beautiful tragedy. Rodolfo’s heart is broken, but he has peace.” Rather than running away by breaking up with an obviously ailing Mimi, Rodolfo confesses his deep love for her and is with her to her last breath.

My favorite line in the libretto sums it all up: “You are the dream I’d like to last a lifetime.”

Catherine Hellmann is a teacher, writer, and theater junkie. She has tried to inspire urban and rural middle schoolers for over twenty years. A mother of three, she is thrilled to once again claim Chicago as home.  

Puccini's story of love, loss and the artistic world of 19th-century Paris comes to vibrant life in this stunning production at Lyric Opera of Chicago. A huge hit when it premiered it in 1896, the opera's popularity and power hasn't dimmed since. Featuring strikingly designed sets and costumes, not to mention an exciting cast of singers, including Maria Agresta, Michael Fabiano, Danielle de Niese, Zachary Nelson and more, La bohème finds the poor poet Rodolfo and the painter Marcello drawn into a tangle of love and jealousy after the frail Mimi knocks on their door. These youthful dreamers navigate the complicated maze of romance amid the colorful Bohemian enclaves of the city and its snowy streets, until they realize they can no longer hide from the world's harsh realities.

Click here for Lyric Opera's site, for more information and ticket sales

OPENING: The Chicago Premiere of A Doll’s House, Part 2 Via Steppenwolf Theatre Company January 31 – March 17, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Steppenwolf Theatre Company Presents the Chicago Premiere of
A Doll’s House, Part 2
Written by Lucas Hnath
Directed by Robin Witt
January 31 – March 17, 2019

Featuring Steppenwolf’s First Onstage Audience Seating Experience

Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the Chicago premiere production of A Doll’s House, Part 2 by award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath, helmed by acclaimed director Robin Witt and featuring ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper (Emmy), Sandra Marquez (Nora) and Yasen Peyankov (Torvald), with Barbara Robertson (Anne Marie). Hnath’s bitingly funny play continues this classic story 15 years after the infamous door slam that ended Ibsen’s original play.

I'll be out for the press performance February 12th, so check back soon for my full review. I've caught Ibsen's original, A Doll’s House, many times in many forms, so I'm eager to catch this Chicago premiere sequel, A Doll’s House, Part 2 by award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath. 

Pictured (L to R) ensemble member Sandra Marquez (Nora), Barbara Robertson (Anne Marie) and ensemble member Yasen Peyankov (Torvald) in rehearsal for Steppenwolf’s Chicago premiere of A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, directed by Robin Witt in the Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Performances for A Doll’s House, Part 2 are January 31 – March 17, 2019. Tickets are available at 312-335- 1650 and 
All Rehearsal Photos by Joel Moorman.

A Doll’s House, Part 2 begins previews January 31, 2019 and the production runs through March 17, 2019 in the Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Opening night is Sunday, February 10. Tickets ($20-$99) are on sale now through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or

As a door slams in 1879 Norway, a young wife and mother leaves behind her family, freeing herself from the shackles of traditional societal constraints. Now, 15 years later, that same door opens to reveal Nora, a changed woman with an incredibly awkward favor to ask the people who she abandoned. Lucas Hnath's bitingly funny sequel to Ibsen's revolutionary masterpiece unfolds in a series of bristling stand-offs that reveal in Nora's world, much like our own, behind every opinion there is a person, and a slamming door isn't just an end, but also the chance for a new beginning.

 Pictured ensemble member Sandra Marquez (Nora) in rehearsal 

Pictured ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper (Emmy) in rehearsal 

A Doll’s House, Part 2 features a Steppenwolf first: an onstage audience seating experience. To reach the stage, patrons will be escorted through a backstage path historically only used by the crew and actors. Before most performances, onstage ticket holders will have dedicated access to restrooms, concessions and complimentary coat check. Onstage seating is available for $30, which includes accessible options for people who use mobility devices or don’t use stairs. To reserve on-stage seating, call Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or select “Onstage seats” in the “Best Available” ticket selection online to purchase onstage seats for a truly up close and intimate theater experience,

Pictured ensemble member Sandra Marquez (Nora) 

Pictured (L to R) ensemble members Sandra Marquez (Nora) and Yasen Peyankov (Torvald) 

Director Robin Witt shares, “The play is so stunning, funny, and smart. A Doll’s House, Part 2 is an extraordinary, contemporary conversation of how we battle and negotiate the expectations of both our loved ones and our community. The audience does not have to be familiar with the Ibsen source material to recognize the power of Lucas Hnath’s sequel. I’m beyond thrilled to be working with the Steppenwolf ensemble on this sharply provocative play.”

Lucas Hnath’s plays include A Doll’s House, Part 2 (8 Tony® nominations, including Best Play); Hillary and Clinton; Red Speedo; The Christians (produced by Steppenwolf in 2016); A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney; Isaac’s Eye; and Death Tax. He has been produced on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre, Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. His plays have been produced nationally and internationally with premieres at the Humana Festival of New Plays, Victory Gardens and South Coast Rep. He has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists since 2011. Awards include the Kesselring Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award, two Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Citations, Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, an Obie and the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize.

Pictured (L to R) ensemble members Sandra Marquez (Nora) and Celeste M. Cooper (Emmy) with director Robin Witt in rehearsal for Steppenwolf’s Chicago premiere of A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, directed by Robin Witt 

Pictured director Robin Witt 

Pictured (L to R) ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper (Emmy) and Yasen Peyankov (Torvald) with director Robin Witt 

Robin Witt is an American theater director. She is an ensemble member at both the Griffin Theatre and Steep Theatre in Chicago. Witt's directing credits include Cordelia Lynn’s Lela & Co; John Van Druten’s London Wall (Jeff Awards, 2016 Director and Production); Ena Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep (Jeff Awards, 2015 Director and Production); Terrence Rattigan’s Flare Path; Dennis Kelly’s Love and Money; Amanda Peet’s The Commons of Pensacola; and the U.S. premieres of Simon Stephens’s Motortown, Wastwater, Pornography and Harper Regan. Witt’s productions have been cited as “Best of the Year” by The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, TimeOut, and Chicago Reader where she has been described as “fearless,” “a powerhouse,” “galvanic,” and “unstinting.” Her international work includes Juliet: A Dialogue About Love at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2013). A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (BFA) and Northwestern University (MFA), Witt is currently an Associate Professor of Directing at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

A Doll’s House, Part 2 production team includes Courtney O’Neill (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Christine Binder (lighting design), Thomas Dixon (sound design), and Gigi Buffington (Company Voice and Text Coach). Additional credits include Laura Glenn (stage manager), Elise Hausken (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director) and Jonathan Berry (artistic producer).

Pictured (L to R) ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper (Emmy) and Sandra Marquez (Nora) 

Ticket Information:
Previews: $20 – $84, Regular Run: $20 – $99. Prices subject to change
Onstage Seating: $30 (includes accessible options for people who use mobility devices or don’t use stairs).

20 for $20: Twenty $20 tickets are available for subscription shows on the day of the performance at 11am (Mon – Sat) and 1pm (Sun), by phone only at 312-335-1650. Limit 2 per person.

Rush Tickets: Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show.
Student Discounts: Limited $15 student tickets are available online. (Limit 2 tickets. Must present a valid student ID for each ticket). For additional student discounts, visit

Group Tickets: All groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance.

Black Card Memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility. Cards include six tickets for use any time, are valid for one year with the option to add additional tickets as needed. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts.

Red Card Memberships are available for theaterrgoers under 30. More info at

Audience Services: For tickets or more information, contact Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St) at 312-335-1650 or

Visitor Information
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation, bike racks and Divvy bike stands. The parking facility ($12 or $14, cash or card) is located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($14 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12noon before Wednesday matinees. Limited street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at 312.335.1774.

Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance and the Downstairs and 1700 Theatres are each equipped with an induction hearing loop. All theaters feature wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, and Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces.
Accessible Performances:
American Sign Language Interpretation: Sunday, February 24 at 7:30pm
Open Captioning: Thursday, February 21 at 7:30pm and Saturday, March 16 at 3pm
Audio Description and Touch Tour: Sunday, March 10 at 1:30pm

Sponsor Information
United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf.

Pictured Barbara Robertson (Anne Marie)

Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks
Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, offering a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesdays – Sundays from 8am to midnight, Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso is provided by La Colombe and food prepared by Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service.

2019 Year of Chicago Theatre
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Book your next show today at

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble represents a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County and Pass Over—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit,, and 

Pictured (L to R) ensemble members Sandra Marquez (Nora) and Celeste M. Cooper (Emmy) 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Goodman Theatre Kicks Off 2019 With Two Kick-Ass Female-Authored World Premieres: HOW TO CATCH CREATION BY CHRISTINA ANDERSON AND TWILIGHT BOWL BY REBECCA GILMAN

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
How to Catch Creation 
by Christina Anderson directed by Niegel Smith 
(January 28 through February 24 in the Albert Theatre) 
Twilight Bowl 
by Goodman Artistic Associate Rebecca Gilman directed by Erica Weiss

As a female critic who attends upwards of twenty plays a month, I see the gender imbalance that's still prevalent on and off stage in the theatre world. Kudos to Goodman for helping to tip those scales with two world-premiere productions by women—one of which features an all-female cast, creative team and crew! We live in exciting times for increasing opportunities for women, an expanding range of roles, and stellar storytelling. It makes my feminist heart happy to witness the sea-change. I'll be out for the press openings of both shows, so check back soon for my full reviews. 

Goodman Theatre ushers in the 2019 “Year of Chicago Theatre” with How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson directed by Niegel Smith(January 28 through February 24 in the Albert Theatre) and Twilight Bowl by Goodman Artistic Associate Rebecca Gilman directed by Erica Weiss appears February 8 – March 10 in the Owen Theatre. Tickets are available for both productions at, by telephone 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 N. Dearborn). Photos and video are now available for How to Catch Creation; visit the Press Room.

About the Plays
“I’m preparing. I’m expecting. I haven’t figured out the path to creation yet.” Creation—of life, family and art—takes center stage in this vivid portrait of three artist/intellectual couples exploring life, children and marriage, coming together and coming apart. How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson—“a gifted playwright you want to pay attention to” (Variety)—is directed by Niegel Smith, who most recently directed the smash sensation Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) last season at the Goodman. The ensemble cast includes Karen Aldridge (Tami), Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie), Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche), Bernard Gilbert (Stokes), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) and Keith Randolph Smith (Griffin). The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (Set), Allen Lee Hughes (Lighting), Joanna Lynne Staub (Sound), Jenny Mannis (Costumes) and Justin Ellington (Composer). The Goodman Theatre Women’s Board is the Major Production Sponsor and WBEZ 91.5 is the Media Sponsor.

Pulitzer Prize finalist and Goodman Artistic Associate Rebecca Gilman marks her ninth production (and seventh world premiere) with Twilight Bowl—featuring an all-female company. Set in a rural Wisconsin bowling alley, the coming-of-age story focuses on six women struggling to define their own version of success. Erica Weiss—co-creator and -executive producer of the upcoming CBS series The Red Line and former Goodman Theatre Michael Maggio Directing Fellow—directs the world-premiere production. The ensemble cast, all of whom reprise their roles from the developmental production in the Goodman’s 2017 New Stages Festival of new plays, includes Hayley Burgess (Clarice), Heather Chrisler (Jaycee), Angela Morris (Maddy), Becca Savoy (Sam), Mary Taylor (Brielle) and Anne E. Thompson (Sharlene). The creative team includes Regina Garcia (Set), Cat Wilson (Lighting), Izumi Inaba (Costumes) and Victoria Deiorio (Sound). Major Support for Twilight Bowl is provided by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and Russell Reynolds Associates is the Contributing Sponsor.

Four productions are still to come in the Goodman’s 2018/2019 Season: Sweat by Lynn Nottage, directed by Ron OJ Parson (March 9 – April 14 in the Albert); Lottery Day by Ike Holter, directed by Lili-Anne Brown (March 29 – April 28 in the Owen); William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, directed by Robert Falls (May 4 – June 9 in the Albert); and The Music Man, book and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey, directed by Mary Zimmerman (June 29 – August 4 in the Albert).

AMERICA’S “BEST REGIONAL THEATRE” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle;” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which marks its 41st production this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.

Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

OPENING: Valentine Fun Abounds With THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition Via Hell in a Handbag Productions February 8, 2019 – March 10, 2019 at Stage 773

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition
By Artistic Director David Cerda
Directed by Jon Martinez
February 8, 2019 – March 10, 2019 at Stage 773

(left to right) Ed Jones, David Cerda, Adrian Hadlock and Grant Drager in a publicity image for Hell in a Handbag Productions’ hit parody THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes. Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios.

Chicago’s favorite drag seniors start 2019 with LOVE in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ beloved parody THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition, written by Artistic Director David Cerda and directed by Jon Martinez. Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia and Rose return February 8 – March 10, 2019 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at or, by calling (773) 327-5252. 

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's Hell in a Handbag for the press opening of THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition, February 10th, so check back soon for my full review. Hell in a Handbag is a long time favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows, and their Golden Girls parodies are something to see! 

THE GOLDEN GIRLS – The Lost Episodes series began in 2017 and has been going strong ever since. Chicago loves Handbag’s long-running parody of the classic TV sitcom with original scripts. Get your tickets early and bring a sweetheart!

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – The Valentine Edition will feature Adrian Hadlock* as Sophia, Ed Jones* as Rose, Michael Rashid and David Cerda as Dorothy and Grant Drager* as Blanche. The ensemble also includes Chazie Bly*, Miles Brindley, Casey Coppess, Steve Kimbrough, Ryan Oates, Ryan Tang and Danne W. Taylor as various characters.

Poor Dorothy can’t find a date for the Sadie Hawkins dance at the Miami Senior Center. When Rose sets her up with a man with a colorful past, the evening takes a turn for the bizarre. Meanwhile Sophia locks horns with her arch rival, Sylvia Martinelli and the two engage in a steamy battle of wits.

The production team includes: Christopher Rhoton (scenic design), Danny Rockett (sound design), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design) and Si Squires-Kasten (stage manager).

*Denotes Handbag ensemble member.

Cast (in alphabetical order): Chazie Bly* (Ensemble), Miles Brindley (Ensemble), David Cerda* (late night Dorothy), Casey Coppess (Ensemble), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Adrian Hadlock* (Sophia), Ed Jones* (Rose), Steve Kimbrough (Ensemble), Ryan Oates (Ensemble), Michael Rashid (Prime time Dorothy), Ryan Tang (Ensemble) and Danne Taylor (Ensemble).

Location: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. 

Dates: Previews: Friday, February 8 at 8 pm and Saturday, February 9 at 8 pm
Opening/Press performance: Sunday, February 10 at 3 pm

Regular run: Thursday, February 14 – Sunday, March 10, 2019
Curtain Times: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added Valentine’s Day performances on Thursday, February 14 at 8 pm; there will be added late night performances on Saturday, February 23 at 10:30 pm, Saturday, March 2 at 10:30 pm and Saturday, March 9 at 10:30 pm.

Tickets: Previews: $22. Regular run $27 in advance, $31 at the door. Group rates $20 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at or, by calling (773) 327-5252.

About the Artists

David Cerda (Playwright) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Hell in a Handbag Productions. Cerda has written or collaborated on POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, Caged Dames, Sexy Baby, Lady X: The Musical, Christmas Dearest, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE-The Musical, The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Volumes 1 & 2), The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes: The Holiday Edition, The Halloween Edition, and many others. He has also worked as a songwriter with Amazon Studios and as an actor around Chicago. In 2016, Cerda was in inducted into the Chicago GLBT Hall of Fame and in 2017 he received a Lifetime Achievement Jeff Award for his contributions to the Chicago theater community and philanthropic efforts.

Jon Martinez (Director) is glad to be back on board after directing and choreographing Snowgirls – The Musical with Handbag. Other credits include: The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues); Crumbs From The Table of Joy (Raven Theatre); The View Upstairs (Circle Theater); In The Heights (Civic Theatre);On A Clear Day… (Porchlight Music Theater); It’s Only a Play, Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination) (Pride Films & Plays); Rock of Ages (Timberlake Playhouse); Tonya & Nancy The Rock Opera (Chicago Premiere) (Underscore Theatre); 3C (Red Orchid); We’re Gonna Die (Haven Theater/Steppenwolf); LIZZIE (Firebrand Theatre); Xanadu (ATC); Carrie, Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago). His first ballet, Le Apache, premiered in 2016 at The Harris Theater in Chicago. Next up, he will be directing and choreographing the regional premiere of Be More Chill at Playhouse Square Cleveland. 

About Hell in a Handbag Productions
Hell in a Handbag is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit.

REVIEW: Chicago Premiere of THE REALISTIC JONESES Via Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit Through March 9, 2019

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Chicago Premiere!
Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit present
a co-production of
By Will Eno
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler

Through March 9, 2019 at Theater Wit

by bonnie kenaz-mara

Everyone's familiar with the concept of "keeping up with the Joneses", but what happens when the Joneses in question aren't particularly healthy, wealthy or wise? In this fabulously funny comedy, two pairs of Joneses end up as neighbors and hilarity ensues, amid heart wrenching conditions. 

(left to right) Joseph Wiens, Cortney McKenna, H.B. Ward and Linda Reiter in Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit’s Chicago premiere of THE REALISTIC JONESES. All Photos by Evan Hanover.

These 4 Joneses are collectively dealing with a fatal illness, insomnia, and a host of fears, phobias, quirks, and idiosyncracies ranging from anxiety to nymphomania. Despite their physical and social problems, underemployment, and issues, this foursome bonds, producing some of the funniest one liners and tenderest moments of commiseration. 

(left to right) Cortney McKenna and Joseph Wiens 

(left to right) Joseph Wiens and Linda Reiter 

(left to right) Cortney McKenna and H.B. Ward 

As they navigate dramas ranging from squirrel corpses to the public death of an acquaintance during a dinner out, these Joneses endear themselves to the audience. This slice of life comedy doesn't stray far from the back patio, but encompasses a world of possibilities. I thoroughly enjoyed this microcosm of human interaction, as 4 strangers become friends that I could see myself keeping up with. Highly recommended.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: (adult) & (family friendly). 

 (left to right) Linda Reiter and H.B. Ward 

Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit are pleased to present the Chicago premiere of Will Eno’s heartbreaking new comedy THE REALISTIC JONESES, directed by Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler, who has directed the Chicago premieres of four of Eno’s plays. This breakout Broadway work of unspoken love and possibility will play January 10 – March 9, 2019 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Single tickets are currently available at or, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. 

THE REALISTIC JONESES features SGT Ensemble Members Cortney McKenna*, Linda Reiter* and Joseph Wiens* with H.B. Ward.

Meet Bob and Jennifer Jones. And their new neighbors, John and Pony Jones. These two couples have more in common than a last name in Will Eno’s funny, quirky and compassionate look at how marriage might be both everything and not nearly enough.  

Join the Joneses as they muddle through the small beauties, immense fears, and amazing moments of each day. Time is short but there are gift certificates to enjoy, tiny fireworks to light and another perfect summer evening to take for granted.

 (left to right) H.B. Ward and Linda Reiter 

Comments Director and Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler, “This production marks my fifth collaboration with Will Eno, who I consider one of the most graceful and insightful playwrights in America. Will and I are looking forward to bringing one of his most popular works to Chicago, a city whose acting talents are nationally recognized. Along those lines, I am particularly excited to work again with the Shattered Globe ensemble, where I last directed A Taste of Honey, long before Theater Wit was founded. I know them as a sharp and uniquely Chicagoan acting troupe; together, we hope to bring Will’s truly hilarious and touching play to vivid life.”

The production team for THE REALISTIC JONESES includes: Jack Magaw (scenic design), Hailey Rakowiecki^ (costume design), John Kelly (lighting design), Christopher Kriz^ (sound design), Vivian Knouse* (props design), Ellen White (production manager), Katie Klemme (stage manager) and Devonte Washington^ (assistant stage manager).

Cast (in alphabetical order): Cortney McKenna* (Pony), Linda Reiter* (Jennifer), H.B. Ward (Bob) and Joseph Wiens* (John).

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, January 10 at 8 pm, Friday, January 11 at 8 pm, Saturday, January 12 at 8 pm, Sunday January 13 at 2:30 pm, Thursday, January 17 at 8 pm, Friday, January 18 at 8 pm, Saturday, January 19 at 8 pm and Sunday, January 20 at 3 pm.

Regular Run: Thursday, January 24 – Saturday, March 9, 2019

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added performances on Monday, February 4 at 7:30 pm and Wednesday, March 6 at 8 pm.

Running time: 100 minutes, no intermission.

Touch Tour/Audio Description Performance: Friday, February 8, 2019 – 6:30 pm touch tour, 8 pm performance with audio description.

Industry Night: Monday, February 4 at 7:30 pm. $12 (headshot/resume required)

Global Perspectives: SGT will be hosting post-show discussions immediately following 2:30 pm performances on Sundays.

Tickets: Previews: $12 – $18. Regular Run: $24 - $74. Student Rush tickets available day of performance for $15. $15 industry tickets on Thursdays with code “INDUSTRY.” Single tickets are currently available at or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150. Group discounts are currently available by contacting or by calling (773) 770-0333.

*Denotes SGT Ensemble Member  ^Denotes SGT Artistic Associate

(left to right) H.B. Ward and Joseph Wiens

About the Artists:
Will Eno (Playwright) is a Residency Five Fellow at the Signature Theatre. The Realistic Joneses had its premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre. The Realistic Joneses was recently named as one of the “25 Best Plays Since Angels in America” by the New York Times and The Realistic Joneses and Title and Deed (Signature Theater) were both onThe New York Times "Best Plays of 2012" list. Gnit, an adaptation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, premiered at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2013. Middletown, winner of the Horton Foote Award, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre and was subsequently produced at Steppenwolf Theatre. Thom Pain (based on nothing) was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Jeremy Wechsler (Director) is the Artistic Director of Theater Wit where he has directed the Chicago premieres of The Antelope Party, 10 Out of 12, Naperville, The New Sincerity, The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence (Best of 2015 – Chicago Sun Times), Bad Jews (Best of 2015 – New City), Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Time Out Peoples’ Choice Award for Direction, Best of 2015), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Chicago Sun Times – Best of Year 2014), Completeness, Tigers Be Still, This, The Four of Us, Feydeau-Si-Deau, Men of Steel, Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Jeff Award – Best Solo Performance), Two for the Show and annual favorite The Santaland Diaries. Under Jeremy’s leadership, Theater Wit has emerged as the go to destination for cutting edge contemporary work, gaining national recognition for excellence. He has directed over sixty shows in the last twenty years at various theaters, including Tragedy a Tragedy, The Flu Season, A Taste of Honey (“U.S. Best of 2008” in The Wall Street Journal), Now Then Again (Jeff Award – Best New Work), The Play About the Squirrel, The White Devil, This Is Not a Play About Cancer, Peer Gynt, The Real Thing, Szinhaz, The Duchess of Malfi, Tragedy a Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, The Roaring Girl, Flight, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, This Is the Rill Speaking, Hay Fever, A Month in the Country, Europe, Henry VI: Blood of a Nation, The Promise, Spin, Un Robot, Horror Academy, Kind Lady, Playing by the Rules, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Solitaire, The Coarse Acting Show, Life is a Dream, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Cabaret and The Threepenny Opera. His productions have been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new work.

About Shattered Globe Theatre
Shattered Globe Theatre (Sandy Shinner, Producing Artistic Director; Doug McDade, Managing Director) was born in a storefront space on Halsted Street in 1991. Since then, SGT has produced more than 60 plays, including nine American and world premieres, and garnered an impressive 42 Jeff Awards and 106 Jeff Award nominations, as well as the acclaim of critics and audiences alike. Shattered Globe is an ensemble driven theater whose mission is to create an intimate, visceral theater experience that challenges the perspective of audience and artist alike through passionate storytelling. Shattered Globe is inspired by the diversity of our city and committed to making the theater available to all audiences. Through initiatives such as the Protégé Program, Shattered Globe creates a space which allows emerging artists to grow and share in the ensemble experience.

Shattered Globe Theatre is partially supported and funded by generous grants from The Shulman-Rochambeau Charitable Foundation, The James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, The Shubert Foundation, The Bayless Family Foundation, The Blum-Kovler Family Foundation, and The Robert J. & Loretta W. Cooney Family Foundation.

For more information on Shattered Globe Theatre, please visit

About Theater Wit

Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater, now in its 15th year of operation, is a major hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago.

“A thrilling addition to Chicago’s roster of theaters” (Chicago Tribune) and “a terrific place to see a show” (New City), Theater Wit is now in its eleventh season at its home at 1229 N. Belmont Ave., in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater.
The company’s most recent hits include Women Laughing Alone with Salad by Sheila Callaghan, The Antelope Party by Eric John Meyer, This Way Outta Santaland by Mitchell Fain, 10 Out of 12 and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Naperville by Mat Smart, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George and Completeness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses. 

Visit or call the Theater Wit box office, (773) 975-8150, to purchase a Membership, inquire about Flex Pass options or to buy single tickets.  To receive an “artisanal selection of consonants and vowels from Theater Wit,” sign up at for exclusive updates, flash deals and behind-the-scenes production scoop every few weeks.

(left to right) Cortney McKenna, Joseph Wiens, H.B. Ward and Linda Reiter in Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit’s Chicago premiere of THE REALISTIC JONESES. Photo by Evan Hanover.

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